World powers talk trade
The US along with 11 other Pacific countries met during the last week of July for what has been called the final round of negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Should negotiations succeed, a regional trade accord would have been finalised, grouping together 40% of global economic output, according to the nytimes.com.
Other countries involved include Japan, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. At the time of writing, negotiators aimed to finalise discussions by 31 July. However, commentators told nytimes.com that this was unlikely to be the case.
According to Reuters, issues still to be finalised included a push from the US, New Zealand and Australia to convince Canada to open up its protected dairy market. Meanwhile Australia was hoping to gain increased access to the US sugar market.
The US, on the other hand, wants the other partners to agree to protect intellectual property rights on next-generation biological drugs, Reuters reported. More than 1 000 technology experts, scientists and researchers have written a letter warning about the dangers of autonomous weapons, or so-called “killer robots”, bbc.com reported. Signatories include world-renowned scientist Stephen Hawking, billionaire businessman Elon Musk and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak.
The letter, which was presented to an international conference on artificial intelligence (AI) in Buenos Aires on 27 July, called for a ban on the use of AI to manage weapons that would be “beyond meaningful human control”, it said. The United Nations is currently considering the potential for a ban on certain types of autonomous weapons.
“If any major military power pushes ahead with AI weapon development, a global arms race is virtually inevitable, and the endpoint of this technological trajectory is obvious: autonomous weapons will become the Kalashnikovs of tomorrow,” the letter from the Future of Life Institute warns.